On Ash Wednesday, March 1, Ginghamsburg Church will be offering “Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition, at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton from 11am-1pm.
Ginghamsburg Church is part of a nationwide movement that has clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops and college campuses to mark the foreheads of interested passers-by with ashes and invite them to seek forgiveness and renewal.
In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes from palm leaves on the face at the beginning of the Lenten season as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness. “Ashes to Go” provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church or have never participated before.
“Ashes to Go” is about bringing spirit, belief and belonging out from behind church doors, and into the places where we go every day. “It’s a simple event with deep meaning, drawing on centuries of tradition and worship to provide a contemporary moment of grace,” says Pastor Rosario Picardo, Executive Pastor at Ginghamsburg Church.
“As people get busier and busier, we need the church in new and non-traditional ways. We especially need reminders of forgiveness in the tough places of our working lives. The people who accept ashes on the street are often people longing to make a connection between their faith and the forces of daily life, and 'Ashes to Go' helps them feel that connection,” Picardo continues.
In addition to offering ashes and prayers, the church is offering blessing bags filled with items most homeless people can use. Friends, family, scout troops, athletic teams, school classes and church groups are encouraged to gather together to create blessing bags: gallon-size Ziplock bags filled with warm wool socks, waterproof gloves, band-aids, deodorant, chapstick, wet wipes, beef jerky, peanut butter crackers, dried fruit, snack cups, mints and water.
All donations can be dropped off at either Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. Co. Rd. 25A, Tipp City or Fort McKinley, 3721 W. Siebenthaler Ave, Dayton, by Friday, February 24.